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Saundra Y. McGuire, Ph.D., Director Center for Academic Success

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1 Metacognition and Learning Styles: Tools for Helping Students Achieve Improved Learning Strategies
Saundra Y. McGuire, Ph.D., Director Center for Academic Success Adj. Professor, Department of Chemistry Louisiana State University

2 The Center for Academic Success
National College Learning Center Association Frank L. Christ Outstanding Learning Center Award 

3 The Story of Five LSU Students
Travis, junior psychology student 47, 52, 82, 86 Robert, freshman chemistry student 42, 100, 100, 100 Miriam, freshman calculus student 37.5, 83, 93 Maryam, freshman art student 57, 87 Terrence, junior Bio Engineering student GPA 1.67 cum, 3.54 (F 03), 3.8 (S 04)

4 Fall 2005 Date of Final Exam: December 14, 2005
Meeting with Student No. 1: December 12, 2005 Meeting with Student Nos. 2 & 4: December 2, 2005 Meeting with Student No. 3: December 8, 2005 The final was worth 100 points with a 10 bonus question.

5 Desired outcomes We will understand why students spend little time studying and do not know how to learn We will have concrete learning strategies that faculty can teach students to increase learning, and we will be committed to trying some of these strategies in our classes We will have more resources for our students We will view our students differently We will see positive changes in our students’ performance and self-perception We will spend time reflecting on improving our teaching and our students’ learning

6 Overview Characteristics of today’s learners
Types and levels of learning Cognitive Science Findings General Learning Strategies Concept Mapping Activity Factors Influencing Student Motivation Wrap Up

7 Reflection Questions Which, if either, is more enjoyable?
What is the difference, if any, between studying and learning? Which, if either, is more enjoyable? When did you learn the conceptual structure (relationships between basic concepts) of your discipline? When/why/how did you to learn this?

8 Paradigm Shift in Institutional Attitudes About Learning
Teacher Centered Institutions Vs Learner Centered Institutions

9 The RSCC Mission Statement
“Roane State provides a challenging and nurturing learning environment which encourages and inspires students to meet the high expectations and standards needed for responsible citizenship and to embrace the concept of learning as a lifelong endeavor.” “Roane State’s success can only be measured by the success of its students and by maintaining its demonstrated reputation as a center for higher education excellence.”

10 Characteristics of Many of Today’s Students
Working more hours More ADD/ADHD Interested in obtaining credentials Feel entitled to an A or B if they consistently attend class Few time management skills Few learning skills

11 Why don’t students know how to learn or how to study?
It wasn’t necessary in high school - 66% of 2003 entering first year students spent less than six hours per week doing homework in 12th grade. - More than 46% of these students said they graduated from high school with an “A” average. Students’ confidence level is high - 70% believe their academic ability is above average or in the highest 10 percent among people their age Higher Education Research Institute Study

12 Additional Reasons High Stakes Testing in high school forces teachers to “teach to the test” Students think everything they need is on the web and can be looked up Technological advances make it easier to function with less knowledge Misconceptions that interfere with learning

13 Student Misconceptions
Who would have thought?!?

14 How might the institution exacerbate the problem?
Orientation programs that stress fun, recreation, and campus organization involvement Helping students to schedule courses “back to back” with no breaks between Very large introductory classes Providing limited or no access to learning strategies information

15 How do some faculty members further add to the problem?
By assigning homework and giving tests that require little, if any, higher order thinking By assessing learning too infrequently By providing limited feedback to students By putting notes on-line and advising students they don’t need to purchase the textbook By having little ability to teach students concrete learning strategies

16 Faculty Must Help Students Learn How to Learn!
Teach them the difference between learning (meaningful learning) and memorization (rote learning); help them understand the process Assess and provide feedback soon and often Help them determine their learning style Teach them specific learning strategies Implement pedagogical strategies that make them use the learning strategies

17 Rote Learning Involves verbatim memorization
(which is easily forgotten) Cannot be manipulated or applied to novel situations (e.g. remembering phone numbers, dates, names, etc.)

18 Meaningful Learning Learning that is tied and related to previous knowledge and integrated with previous learning Can be manipulated, applied to novel situations, and used in problem solving tasks (e.g. comparing and contrasting the Arrhenius and B-L definitions of acids and bases.)

19 Bloom’s Taxonomy Evaluation Synthesis Analysis Application
This pyramid depicts the different levels of thinking we use when learning. Notice how each level builds on the foundation that precedes it. It is required that we learn the lower levels before we can effectively use the skills above. Bloom’s Taxonomy Evaluation Graduate School Making decisions and supporting views; requires understanding of values. Combining information to form a unique product; requires creativity and originality. Synthesis Identifying components; determining arrangement, logic, and semantics. Analysis Undergraduate Using information to solve problems; transferring abstract or theoretical ideas to practical situations. Identifying connections and relationships and how they apply. Application Restating in your own words; paraphrasing, summarizing, translating. Comprehension High School Memorizing verbatim information. Being able to remember, but not necessarily fully understanding the material. Knowledge Louisiana State University  Center for Academic Success  B-31 Coates Hall  

20 Example ~ Bloom’s Levels of Learning ~ Applied to Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Evaluation Judge whether Goldilocks was good or bad. Defend your opinion. Synthesis Propose how the story would be different if it were Goldilocks and the Three Fish. Analysis Compare this story to reality. What events could not really happen. Application Demonstrate what Goldilocks would use if she came to your house. Comprehension Explain why Goldilocks liked Baby Bear’s chair the best. Knowledge List the items used by Goldilocks while she was in the Bears’ house. Courtesy of

21 Counting Vowels in 30 seconds
How accurate are you?

22 Cognitive Science: The Science of the Mind
Questions How do humans process information? How do people increase their knowledge? What factors influence learning? What types of learning facilitate transfer of information learned to new settings? How can we change teaching to improve learning?

23 Keys to Learning Based on Cognitive Science Findings
Deep factual and procedural knowledge of a discipline is required to solve complex problems Learning is a continuous process; repetition is the key New knowledge must be tied to existing knowledge Learning should involve both sides of the brain and several learning styles

24 They think differently about problems
Experts vs. Novices They think differently about problems

25 Novices vs. Intelligent Novices
Intelligent novices learn new domains more quickly than other novices The metacognitive skills make the difference

26 What intelligent novices know
Learning is different from memorization Solving problems without looking at the solution is different from using the solution as a model Comprehension of reading material must be tested while the reading is in progress Knowledge is not “handed out” by the instructor; it is constructed by the learner

27 Turn Students into Expert Learners:
Metacognition and Learning Styles are the Keys!

28 Metacognition thinking about thinking being consciously aware of
yourself as a problem solver Planning, monitoring, and controlling your mental processing

29 The Study Cycle Phase 1: Read or preview chapter(s) to be covered in class… before class. Phase 2: GO TO CLASS! Listen actively, take notes, participate in class. Phase 3: Review and process class notes as soon after class as possible. Phase 4: Implement Intense Study Sessions. Repeat

30 Intense Study Sessions
2-5 minutes: Set Goals 20-50 minutes: STUDY with FOCUS and ACTION (Read your text, create flash cards, create maps and/or outlines, work problems -without peeking at the answers, quiz yourself…) Achieve your goal! 5 minutes Take a break 5 minutes Review what you have just studied Repeat *Once a week review the entire week’s notes and problems

31 Active Learning Strategies
Get Involved Ask Questions Recite and Write Review Reflect (megacognate?)

32 Good notes are essential for meaningful learning

33 Cornell Note Taking Format
Recall Column: Notes on Taking Notes, /04/08 Uses of notes identify major points identify minor points There are 4 Kinds of Notes: Running Text Formal Outline Informal Outline Cornell Note system Reduce ideas and facts to concise summaries and cues for reciting, reviewing and reflecting over here.

34 Getting the Most Out of Homework: Effective Strategy for Problem Solving
Start the problems early--the day they are assigned Do not flip back to see example problems; work them yourself! Don’t give up too soon (<15 min.) Don’t spend too much time (>30 min.)

35 Concept maps facilitate development of higher order thinking skills

36 Colligative properties
Mapping Molar mass Colligative properties grams Fp. Dep; b.p. elev. formula moles Symbols + subscripts

37 Compare and Contrast Acids Bases How are they similar?
How are they different?

38 Create a Chapter Map Title of Chapter Primary Headings Subheadings
Have you ever started reading a chapter and found yourself on the same paragraph fifteen minutes later? One of the best ways to combat this problem is to preview the chapter by creating a chapter map. Here is one way to do this: 1. It is best to use a large piece of unlined paper (we recommend purchasing some butcher paper from an art or book store) but you can use any paper you have. Print the Chapter Title at the top of the page, then draw a rectangle around the title. Next, look through the chapter and note the number of primary headings. You will write each of these headings in a row across, just below the title, then circle each of them. You will now skim through the chapter once more, this time looking at the number of subheadings. Print these in a row just below the primary headings. Depending on the organization of the chapter, you may continue to add sub-subheadings! This can all be done very quickly. There is no need to spend a lot of time writing details at this point. You may want to fill in details later when you read the chapter, but for now, just preview the chapter with a chapter map. You will find your brain will be ready to comprehend the material now that you have the “big picture”, or an overview of the chapter. Subheadings Secondary Subheadings

39 Time for a Break!

40 Learning Strategies Should be Based on Learning Style

41 Learning Styles Influence how we take in information from the outside world Influence how we process information Influence how we interact with others Influence our motivation for learning different subjects Influence our frustration level with learning tasks

42 Learning Style Diagnostics
Brain Dominance Personality Modality

43 Hemispheric Preference
Left Brain vs. Right Brain Right Brain: visual, intuitive, holistic, abstract, spatial and main ideas; use charts, maps, time lines, graphs, or visualization as study tools Left Brain: verbal, logical, linear, concrete, time oriented, and details; use outlines, lecture notes, or the Cornell note taking format as study tools Some students will be “balanced”

44 Personality Profile Extrovert Introvert Sensing iNtuitive Thinking
Feeling Judging Perceiving Modified Myers-Briggs

45 Modality (Sensory Preference)
Visual: prefers pictures, symbols, charts, graphs, concept maps, etc. Aural or auditory: prefers hearing lectures, reading notes out loud, etc. Read/write: prefers flashcards, notes, lists, outlines, etc. Kinesthetic: prefers direct experience, mapping, charting, experiments, visualizing action, etc.

46 What’s YOUR Style? Left or right brain dominant? Personality Type
Extrovert or Introvert? Sensing or Intuitive? Thinking or Feeling? Judging or Perceiving? Modality (Sensory Preference)? Visual, Aural, Read/Write Kinesthetic

47 Learning Style Inventories
Many others!

48 Time Management is Life Management
Take a few minutes to review what you just learned. What are 3 things you plan to use? Write them, then implement them within the next 24 hours. If you don’t try it soon, you will probably never do it!

49 Big Rocks The question is this:
What if we fill it to the top with small rocks… would it be full? What if we fill it to the top with sand… would it be full? What if we fill it to the top with water… would it be full? Is this jar full? The question is this: What is the “moral of the story” when it comes to time management?

50 The “Master To Do List” Weekly Master To Do List
Date to be completed: Sunday, Oct. 17th The “Master To Do List” Master To Do List: Class #1 Ch /13 Ch /13 Ch /15 Assignment Due 10/15 Ch /19 Studio: pp /12 Project #1 3 references 10/14 drawings (3) 10/14 model 10/16 Class #3 Ch /13 Ch /15 Ch /20 Class #4 Homework 10/14 Ch /14 Review Ch /15 Life: Mom’s Birthday card send 10/15) Monday, Oct. 11 Class 1, Ch. 4 Review pp Homework Buy card Clyde Complete forms Pick up materials Library, 3 references Pay bills The Master To Do List is a great way to compile EVERYTHING you need to complete for each class you are taking. You might use a large manila file folder to do the following: 1.) Write the date one week from today’s date at the top right corner of the file folder. 2.) List each of your classes, and below each class, list the things you need to complete that week. (Note: Avoid a line that states: “Read chapters 4-6”. Instead, give each chapter a separate line--it gives you a sense of accomplishment to check-off each chapter as it is completed.) Many people use this instead of, or in combination with, a daily to-do list. It feels good to slowly, but surely, cross off each item on this master to-do list. (By the way... don’t throw these away. You can refer to them as you prepare for major exams.)

51 Weekly Master To Do List
Class: a Class: Class: Class: Other: Week of Monday ____________________________ to Sunday ____________________________ Download this form in the Time Management Online workshop at

52 Time Management Tips from Students
Have a vision—Set goals Know YOUR unique time management style Study when the sun is out Avoid napping Develop patterns “This is what I do” Think of yourself as a Professional Student Kill the TV, cell phone, video game… /chat/Facebook…only as a reward Exercise Eat well Drink water Take breaks Have fun

53 Motivation “In the academy, the term ‘motivating’ means stimulating interest in a subject and, therefore, the desire to learn it.” (Nilson, 57)

54 Motivation to Learn Study Hobson 2000 & 2001 (n=412)
Positive motivation: Teachers’ attitudes & behaviors % Course structure % Intrinsic % Course content % Perform. Measures % Vocational/financial % Learning environ % Parents/others % Negative motivation: Teachers’ attitudes & behaviors % Course structure: % Learning environ % Course content % Intrinsic % Perform. measures % Parents/others % Vocational/financial %

55 Motivation Boosters Partial credit for partially correct answers
Letting students use their own problem solving method Flexible grading scale based on student performance Demonstrated personal interest in, and belief that EVERY student can succeed!

56 Motivation Busters Multiple choice tests with no opportunity for partial credit Requiring students to use one problem solving method Absolute grading scale with no flexibility Attitude that most students are not prepared to do well, and probably won’t! Assessment that is not closely tied to what students learned

57 Answer the following questions:*
In baseball, how many outs are there in an inning?  A rancher has 33 head of cattle standing in a field, when suddenly a bolt of lightning kills all but 9 of them. How many head of cattle are left standing? Some months have 31 days, and some months have 30 days. But how many have 28 days?  Two U.S. coins are worth a total of $0.30, and one of them is not a nickel. What are the coins? *

58 Strategies that Work Learning Style & Personality Assessments
Note taking Systems Concept Mapping The Study Cycle with Intense Study Sessions Time Management Tools Test Taking Strategies Metacognitive Reflections

59 Strategies that have worked at Other Schools
Integrating study strategies techniques into class structure Teaching and requiring concept mapping Setting up collaborative working groups in class Implementing Supplemental Instruction Offering Service-Learning courses

60 Chem 1001 Results Spring 2007 Test 1 Test 2 Final Total points
   Attended SYM Lecture on 3/2                       Did not attend         93      153           563          Class average  *app. 80 attendees out of 200 students because session was on a Friday afternoon. Exam 1 was Wednesday, March 7.                                                

61 Reflection Question a) the student b) the instructor
Who is primarily responsible for student learning? a) the student b) the instructor c) the institution

62 Our students can significantly increase their learning!
We must teach them the learning process and strategies We must use pedagogical strategies that motivate students to learn

63 What Learning Strategy Can You Teach that Might Improve Student Performance in Your Course?

64 Final Note Please visit the websites at and We have information and on-line workshops that will introduce you and your students to effective study strategies techniques. Please feel free to contact me at I wish you great success as you help your students SAIL at Roane State Community College! Saundra McGuire

65 References Bruer, John T. , Schools For Thought: A Science of Learning in the Classroom. MIT Press. Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L., Cocking, R.R. (Eds.), How people learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Cromley, Jennifer, Learning to Think, Learning to Learn: What the Science of Thinking and Learning Has to Offer Adult Education. Washington, DC: National Institute for Literacy. Halpern, D.F and Hakel, M.D. (Eds.), Applying the Science of Learning to University Teaching and Beyond. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Kameenui and Carnine, Effective Teaching Strategies That Accommodate Diverse Learners. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Publishing Nilson, Linda, Teaching at It’s Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company. Taylor, S. (1999). Better learning through better thinking: Developing students’ metacognitive abilities. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 30(1), 34ff. Retrieved November 9, 2002, from Expanded Academic Index ASAP. Zull, James (2004). The Art of Changing the Brain. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

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